A Nelson restaurant owner who made the decision to ban kids says the change has "been like heaven".

Fabian Prioux, owner of Abbey Road Burgers, Bar & Cafe, began restricting children's dining two months ago after becoming fed up by the damage they caused.

Prioux said he opened the gourmet burger establishment in November last year, and in the following months had thousands of dollars of damage caused by careless kids.

It was this damage, including broken chairs, scratched tables, damaged paintwork and destroyed menus - that led to the decision to ban all children under the age of 12 from the premises.

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Any child between 12 to 18 years old also had to be accompanied by a parent.

"This decision has been made after a year of drama and problems with non-educated children," he said.

"The kids make some damage and the parents don't say anything. The tables have been stabbed with knifes, the chairs have been damaged as they climb all over them with their shoes, and there has been damage to the paint.

"It is all these things that add up to thousands of dollars which is not right.

"We should not have to deal with this damage, especially when their parents are right beside them and can see what the child is doing."

Since making the change, Prioux said the quality of work and the customers' dining experience had greatly improved.

"Since then it has been like heaven. We've had some great feedback from people saying that it was a good move," he said.

"Of course we now have to refuse some families so in a way we are losing some trade, but at the same time I think it has attracted more people because they know they can come and eat at a place where they will not be annoyed by kids.

"Some businessmen and companies will come and have business meetings because it's quiet and they know they will not be disturbed.

"Even some parents with kids have said it's great because when they go out they don't want to take their kids with them and they hate going somewhere where it's going to be noisy."

However, Prioux said the decision was a tough one that not all were happy with.

"Of course some families have come with kids and they are upset because they can't come and taste our food," he said.

"Some people don't understand, but in a way I don't really care. We've had great comments from most customers who come in and I think it's really positive in the end."

Prioux, a Frenchman from Nice, has lived in New Zealand and worked in the food industry for eight years.

He said he was appalled by the behaviour of children in public dining facilities, behaviour he had not seen elsewhere in the world.

"From every 10 children it is eight who are being negative. Maybe if it was only 20 per cent it would be okay, but it's so much," he said.

"I have lived in France, Norway, and the UK and I have seriously never seen this."

He said he felt the misbehaviour came down to a lack of education.

"When you go somewhere like a restaurant they need to be taught it is not a playground and you have to behave in the proper way.

"As soon as you say to a child 'can you stop doing this' the parents get upset, but they are not doing it themselves. It makes the job way more difficult."

According to the Human Rights Commission it was "not unlawful to treat people under the age of 16 differently on the basis of age" under the Human Rights Act.

In May, The Little Bistro restaurant in Akaroa made waves after it made the call to ban children under 10.

Owner Richard Uttley said the move to go child-free came after several complaints from diners and an incident where a child ran into an employee, injuring her.

Fabian Prioux, owner of Abbey Road Burgers, Bar & Cafe, banned kids under 12 from eating at his restaurant. Photo / Nelson Weekly
Fabian Prioux, owner of Abbey Road Burgers, Bar & Cafe, banned kids under 12 from eating at his restaurant. Photo / Nelson Weekly

He said the original plan was to set the age at 12 but after talking to parents who dined at the bistro, school teachers and looking into the stages of psychosocial behaviour, he decided to lower it to 10.

At the time, general manager of Restaurant Association New Zealand, Nicola Waldren, said some restaurants were trying to create an atmosphere that was less suited to young children.

She said restaurants could avoid alienating families with young children and encourage they dine earlier in the evening.

"This will alleviate the impact on other diners who may find that young children can affect the ambiance of their dining experience."

Last month a Pukekohe hairdresser also caused a stir when they refused to cut a 4-year-old's hair because of a new policy that stated a child could not have a haircut there unless the parent or guardian was a customer as well.

In October, an Auckland hair salon also created a stir by deciding to charge adult prices for children's haircuts.

HAiR Salon announced on Facebook that it was increasing its kids' prices due to past misbehaviour from its younger clientele.

Snot on chairs, ripped magazines, temper tantrums and broken equipment are among the gripes of the salon's owners.

All kids prices are now the same as an adult, with a girl's cut and blow wave costing $90 and a boy's cut $50.